While Bucs make a thud, Antonio Brown barely makes a splash
Because his one-year deal includes no guaranteed money, highly controversial receiver Antonio Brown's arrival in Tampa Bay came with essentially no risk. And no reward, either. At least not after one game.

Perhaps the most conspicuous statement made by Brown in Sunday night's 38-3 debacle came after his 15-yard gain on what appeared to be a simple slant route. Popping up from the turf, Brown pointed the ball forward in a first-down gesture and mildly flexed his forearms. Tampa Bay trailed 31-0 at that point.

That impromptu celebration aside, Brown's debut as a Buc (three catches, 31 yards, five targets) was relegated to feeble footnote in the utter debacle that transpired before a national prime-time audience.

While all three of his catches went for first downs, he appeared to get confused or pull up prematurely on a deep sideline route in the third quarter, resulting in an easy Marcus Williams interception. "I definitely saw something and kind of predetermined what I thought was going to happen and made a bad play," Brady said.

It was hardly the only instance in which Brady seemed on a different page than his targets in a game in which he tossed three picks and finished with a 3.8 quarterback rating. "We'll just have to go back and watch the film, because some routes adjust different ways" coach Bruce Arians said, "and Tom and his receivers might not have read it the same."

Arians has called the signing of Brown, decried by some prominent advocates for domestic violence victims, an “insurance policy” in case of injury to one of the team's deepest positions. Coming off an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Sunday's contest was his first in the league since Sept. 15, 2019. He is accused of sexual misconduct and rape in a civil lawsuit scheduled for December.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told NFL.com that Brown's attitude has been "awesome" so far. Because his $1 million deal includes no guaranteed money, the Bucs can cut him at any time with no ramifications to the salary cap.

Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times, published 9 November 2020